This post contains spoilers for the Riverdale Season 2 finale.[hhmc]
Archie Andrews can rock anything from a letterman jacket to a wrestling singlet—but can he pull off an orange jumpsuit? Its worth asking after Wednesdays Riverdale season finale, which ended with Archies shocking arrest, courtesy of Hiram Lodges newly installed puppet, Sheriff Minetta. Archie and Hirams relationship has been a delicate dance all season, but its safe to assume after their heated exchange this week that their dynamic has turned downright icy. Thats a bummer for Veronica—but it should be a treat for viewers to watch Archie face off against an enemy he already knows far too well, rather than chasing down a hooded serial killer.
Thankfully, that mystery, at least, appears to be solved for now. (Although, knowing Riverdale, its likely Archie will end up chasing down another murderer next season.) But thats not all we can divine about Season 3 from this busy, bonkers finale. Here are the main takeaways:
Is Hiram our new big bad?
Archie, dear: threatening Hiram with a knife and announcing your intention to get him locked up was probably not a smart move. Soon after Archie makes his grand vow to his girlfriends father—even slamming a knife into his presumably expensive desk—he gets some great news: hes won the election for student council! The bad news? Before he can be inaugurated, Sheriff Minetta arrests him for: the murder of a boy named Cassidy, who, of course, was actually killed by Hirams assistant, Andre. Its unclear exactly how much time Archie will end up spending in the slammer, but either way, he and Hiram will undoubtedly tangle even more aggressively next season. Perhaps theyll stage another wrestling match?
Archie will also face a serious problem: Hermione Lodge beat out Fred Andrews in the town mayoral race—which means that the Lodges now essentially control all of Riverdale, including the police force. But its worth noting that Hermione also isnt entirely on board with Hirams devious efforts. And now that the Lodge patriarch has occasionally begun to leave Hermione out of his scheming—most notably, his shadowy meeting with his co-conspirators, in which he made clear their plan to convert South Side High School into a prison. Archie and the gang will presumably try to stop him next year—though theyll also face another obstacle: as Hiram told his cronies, “steps have been taken to dissolve the very glue” that holds Archie and his crew together.
Its unclear what, precisely, he means by that. Obviously, Archies arrest is at least part of this plan; Archie is the strongest mutual connection between Betty, Veronica, and Jughead. But it seems unlikely that Hiram would stake the future of his plan on that one move. Whatever else hes got cooking will likely be one of the biggest challenges facing the meddling foursome when the series returns.
Ethel Mugg for president
Archies arrest could jeopardize his newly won-position as student council president. (At least, it would on a normal teen soap.) If so, his only competition in the election was Ethel Mugg (played, youll recall, by Stranger Thingss Shannon Purser), who ran as a third party candidate. This likely wont prove particularly important, but its also about as close to “justice for Barb” as Stranger Things fans are likely to get.
Get ready for a lot more Choni
And then theres Cheryl Blossom and her Serpent cheri, Toni Topaz, who will likely get a lot more screen time together come next season. Both Vanessa Morgan, who plays Toni, and Charles Melton, who plays Reggie, have been bumped to series regular for the upcoming season—and now, Cheryl is also a member of the Serpents. (True to form, she joined up while sporting a fashionable red leather jacket.) As we saw last week, Cheryl was more than willing to use her archery skills in defense of her lady love—and it was Cheryls warning this week that saved all of the Serpents from Sheriff Minettas raid on their bar hangout, the White Worm. So it seems safe to guess that she and Toni will continue to be one of the shows strongest ships as we sail into Season 3.
Another couple whose stock appears to be on the rise? Moose and Kevin. Moose might have been started their scene together mourning his girlfriend Midges death—but as his subsequent make-out session with his onetime secret hook-up proved, grief can also be a powerful aphrodisiac. At least when you live in Riverdale.
Along came Polly
As the Cooper family recovers from the realization that Hal is actually the Black Hood, Bettys older sister Polly stops by with her twins. And toward the end of the episode, she sure seems to be planning something devious. Polly offers her mother a visit from the same “friend” from “The Farm” she went to after Jason Blossoms death—someone Polly says “healed” her. (Reminder: Bettys pretty sure “The Farm” is actually a cult.) Alice thinks this sounds nice—but as Polly takes a sip from her mug, she sure has a devilish grin on her face. Is she trying to recruit Alice to the cult? Could she be in cahoots with Hiram somehow to sabotage Bettys life, and thus prevent her from messing with his plans? Or is she playing at something else entirely? Whatever shes up to, we do know one thing: Hal Cooper is not gone forever; actor Lochlyn Munro has confirmed that hes been told hell have more to do next season.
The children are our future
Hiram might have made the biggest gains this week, but lets not forget that the teens had a few wins of their own. For instance, Veronica now owns and runs Pops Chocklit Shoppe, and plans to open the basement as a speakeasy that doubles as a Serpent hangout—and she wants to install Jugheads dad, F.P. as manager. To gain it, however, she had to give up her stake in Lodge Industries, so she might have a little less money to spend on pearl necklaces and fashionable collared dresses. Then again, if anyone can turn a basement bar into a lucrative enterprise, its Ronnie.
Meanwhile, Jughead has been officially handed control of the Serpents, as F.P. stepped down. And now that hes the Serpent King, hes officially asked Betty to be his queen—a question shell have to answer next season as well. She already tried to join once, so its not unlikely shed say yes again. One thing Betty has officially left behind, for now, at least, is darkness. As she vowed to her father during a visit to the jail, Betty is done with evil. She plans to be a different person from her father. As always, though, theres a chance that Dark Betty could rise from the ashes—especially if Hal is going to be hanging around next season.
And then theres Cheryl, who, on top of a blossoming romance with Toni, will enjoy the freedom of emancipation from her mothers custody. This week, Cheryl received the official paperwork emancipating her from Penelope and instead making Nana Blossom, her grandmother, her legal guardian. Cheryl was already easily this seasons M.V.P.—and now, as shes officially unleashed, the future is looking even brighter.
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Laura BradleyLaura Bradley is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.